Hello, everyone. Some of you may know me from my high level of activity in the RMT forum, in which I spend a great deal of time browsing and rating teams. Despite this, I have yet to actually post a recent team of my own. I suppose I was waiting for “the perfect team,” but I’ve come to realize that no such thing exists. No matter how well-constructed a combination of Pokemon might be, there will always be problems and weak areas to address. The true competitive nature of this game stems from the individual’s ability to overcome such difficulties through a combination of solid team-building and intelligent playing. Even seemingly insurmountable obstacles can be broken through with the right amount of prediction and knowledge. As such, Pokemon is truly a game in which skill plays a vital role, much more so than I had initially anticipated.
I started working on this particular team shortly after my graduation from Smogon’s Battling 101 program under the tutelage of Setsuna. He was really the one who taught me about effective team-building, and I have much to owe him for his support. Setsuna also got me started with bulky offense; I would soon come to favor this playstyle above all others for its unique combination of offensive play and entry hazard support. The concept of the team is quite simple: stack layers of entry hazards, force switches to rack up damage, and clean up the opponent’s team with a combination of threatening sweepers. Although I initially meant for the team to be focused around Superachi, many of the team’s members are perfectly capable of sweeping on their own. As such, if I play correctly, I can generally maintain enough pressure on the opponent during the match to ultimately ensure victory.
Skarmory @ Leftovers
Ability: Keen Eye
EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpD / 4 Spe
Impish nature (+Def, -SpA)
- Stealth Rock
After playing with just about every commonly used OU lead, I can safely say that Skarmory is quite easily my preferred choice for the position. Due to its access to both Stealth Rock and Spikes, as well as a form of recovery and a phazing move, Skarmory is often able to net me a favorable advantage over my opponent when played correctly. Multiple layers of entry hazards are not too difficult to lay down with Skarmory’s great amount of bulk, and it can often switch in on physical attackers during later stages of the match to phaze away opponents and spread entry hazard damage. However, because of the complexity of Skarmory’s role as a lead, it can be somewhat difficult to play with. I tend to be very conservative at the beginning of matches, ensuring that Skarmory stays alive so that I can get up Stealth Rock and preferably as many layers of Spikes as possible, which benefit the team’s ability to sweep immensely. After I finish setting up my entry hazards, Skarmory’s survivability becomes much less of an issue, although I like to keep it alive for as long as possible so that I can continue to abuse my hazards with Whirlwind.
Due to the shift from the Dragon / Steel - based teams that were present in the Latias and Salamence metagame to the current Fire / Water / Grass cores, I tend to see a lot more Infernape and Heatran leads than before. This puts some pressure on me at the beginning of the match, but I have enough solid switch-ins to deal with them fairly well, and I can often play around unfavorable lead match-ups if I think carefully. Machamp is also somewhat problematic, but it is fortunately becoming much less common as most experienced battlers have long since adjusted their teams to deal with it. My favorite opposing leads to see at the beginning of the match include Metagross and just about any bulky Ground-types. In these situations, I usually get Stealth Rock and at least one layer of Spikes up, which is already enough to apply pressure on the opponent.
I chose a simple 252 / 252 spread emphasizing SpD to maintain a balance between physical and special bulk. The EVs in Special Defense often prove very useful, allowing me to set up on weak or resisted special attacks. Although the presence of both Stealth Rock and Spikes on Skarmory’s moveset does put quite a bit of pressure on me to successfully get entry hazards down, I chose to make the decision mainly so that my other Pokemon could execute their roles more effectively, since none of them would have to waste a moveslot for Stealth Rock. Roost provides reliable and indispensable recovery, while Whirlwind is a great move for racking up residual damage on my opponent. On bulky offensive teams utilizing entry hazards, I like to have around two team members with access to phazing moves, and Skarmory performs admirably in this regard. As for the item choice, I feel that Leftovers is consistently the most effective item for Skarmory, as the extra recovery it provides is often very useful. Magnezone does tend to be an annoyance, but it is rare enough in my experience not to warrant the use of Shed Shell.
Heatran @ Leftovers
Ability: Flash Fire
EVs: 248 HP / 132 SpD / 128 Spe
Calm nature (+SpD, -Atk)
- Lava Plume
- Sleep Talk[/box]
Heatran may be the #1 Pokemon in OU, but it possesses a great enough variety of sets to prevent it from becoming overly predictable. Specially-defensive RestTalk happens to be my favorite Heatran set by far, as it gives me an incredibly bulky second phazer. Troublesome threats such as Zapdos, Jolteon, and even Raikou are all checked quite handily by Heatran. I also get to surprise opposing Pokemon such as Scizor, Skarmory, and Forretress by using Roar rather than a Fire-type attack. With some prediction, I can cause the opponent to accumulate quite a bit of damage from Stealth Rock and Spikes throughout the course of the match. Probably the most important role that Heatran plays on this team is that of a status-absorber; this helps immensely against status-inducing foes such as Breloom or Roserade, ensuring that I don’t lose too much offensive momentum. For example, when matched up against Roserade leads, I typically switch to Heatran to take the Sleep Powder, then switch back to Skarmory to get some entry hazards. The use of both Sleep Talk and Roar on the same set, in tandem with Heatran’s decent speed, allows this set to function as a decent “speed-shuffler.” Slower opponents can find it difficult to deal with Heatran, as it can abuse Sleep Talk’s neutral priority by outspeeding and phazing foes before they can make a move.
The EVs and nature emphasize Heatran’s special bulk. With a Calm nature and the given EVs, Heatran is capable of taking most neutral hits and even some super effective Water attacks from the likes of Vaporeon and Suicune. This allows me to switch in quite often to check specially-based threats, using Roar to force switches. Just to put things into perspective, Heatran isn’t even 3HKO’d by defensive variants of Rotom and Zapdos, letting me abuse Sleep Talk and Roar quite effectively. Lava Plume is the only attacking move on the moveset, but it happens to be the only one that I need in general. It still hits quite hard as a STAB move off Heatran’s high base Special Attack stat, and its 30% burn rate is very helpful for crippling common switch-ins such as Tyranitar or Gyarados. Roar is probably the most useful move, as it allows me to damage opposing teams with residual damage from Stealth Rock and Spikes. The RestTalk combination boosts Heatran’s level of survivability and allows it to absorb status freely. Leftovers further adds to this set’s durability by giving it some useful recovery over the long run.
Gengar @ Black Sludge
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature (+Spe, -Atk)
- Shadow Ball
- Focus Blast[/box]
When Gengar is sent out, opponents instinctively think of the SubSplit set, and with good reason. SubSplit Gengar is a major threat to both offensive and stall teams alike, capable of dishing out major damage and recovering lost health with Pain Split. However, I wanted to try something a bit different here, and instead opted for Hypnosis over Pain Split and Black Sludge over Life Orb. While Hypnosis may seem a rather gimmicky move choice for Gengar, consider the following: Hypnosis has a 60% chance of hitting. Most of the time, Gengar will be fast enough to get at least two opportunities to attack, oftentimes from behind a substitute. This means that Hypnosis essentially has an 84% chance to hit if I manage to get two tries in. Additionally, many of Gengar’s common switch-ins do not appreciate being put to sleep. In many situations, I can take advantage of this by setting up another Substitute and proceeding to sweep. Gengar tends to induce quite a bit of switching, which allows me to rack up further entry hazard damage on my opponents. It also adds some useful immunities to Normal-, Ground-, and Fighting-based attacks, which help it synergize well with the rest of the team.
The EV spread and moveset listed are relatively simple. 252 / 252 is pretty much the only set for Gengar to utilize, as maximum Special Attack and Speed are more important than any other stats. As mentioned earlier, the moveset is remarkably similar to that of the SubSplit set. Substitute is a wonderful move on Gengar, allowing me to ease prediction, scout switch-ins, and protect myself from priority attacks. Shadow Ball and Focus Blast both hit hard even without Life Orb, and provide unresisted coverage when used together. Finally, Hypnosis rounds out the set by putting to sleep any of Gengar’s traditional “counters,” and generally putting additional pressure on the opponent. Black Sludge is basically the same as Leftovers, and gives me a means of recovery since I’m not running Pain Split. Although Gengar lacks an actual recovery move, I usually find that I can keep it at good health despite its frailty. Substitute and Hypnosis work admirably together in this regard, making it difficult for opponents to actually land an attack on Gengar.
Kingdra @ Chesto Berry
Ability: Swift Swim
EVs: 144 HP / 160 Atk / 42 SpD / 164 Spe
Adamant nature (+Atk, -SpA)
- Dragon Dance
ChestoRest Kingdra isn’t quite as unexpected as it was when I originally made this team, but it still serves a very useful purpose. Kingdra possesses a rather unique typing that allows it to set up against both Fire- and Water-types, which circumvents the need for a Grass-type on this team. It also functions as my main switch-in to LO Starmie, which tends to be a nightmare for most entry hazard-abusing teams to deal with. Kingdra’s resistances are invaluable for this team. Heatran deals negligible damage, although I must be wary of Explosion (which is often easy to predict around). Bulky waters such as Suicune and Vaporeon are basically set-up bait for ChestoRest Kingdra, allowing me to gain some stat boosts and tear holes through opposing teams. I’m quite sure that most people are familiar with how this set is played, but I’ll go into it in detail. Kingdra should be switched into Pokemon that cannot significantly damage it, such as LO Starmie and most bulky Water-types. At this point, I begin trying to accumulate as many Dragon Dances as possible, ignoring any status ailments or damage. When Kingdra has reached the lowest amount of health possible, Rest is used to recover off any damage and status, preparing for a sweep. In certain situations, I may decide to get in a couple more stat boosts, but it all depends on which opposing Pokemon I happen to be facing. Due to this set’s tendency to net several boosts, even defensively bulky foes such as Skarmory or Metagross can take quite a bit of damage, especially after switching into Stealth Rock / Spikes. I also like how Kingdra manages to lure in opposing Scarf Flygon, some of which panic and use Outrage immediately in hopes of a kill. This just opens up opportunities either for Skarmory to switch in and lay down some more entry hazards, or for Heatran to come in and do some more phazing. Kingdra also often lures out and damages or eliminates Steel-types, allowing Flygon to clean out opposing teams with Outrage.
Kingdra has what is probably the most complicated set of EVs on this team, but they are specifically fine-tuned for survivability. The points in HP and Special Defense prevent it from being 2HKO’d by either LO Starmie or +1 Offensive Suicune, allowing me to safely set up on both. 164 EVs in speed are just enough to outspeed Jolly Scarf Flygon after two Dragon Dances, taking out one of the most popular checks to Jirachi. The remainder is put into Attack to boost Kingdra’s damage output. An Adamant nature is preferred since Kingdra appreciates as much power as it can get. Being outsped by faster Heatran can be a bit annoying, but they are typically quite easy to deal with as they either switch out or use Explosion (prompting me to switch to Gengar). The moveset is simple, but very effective. Waterfall and Outrage make for an outstanding STAB combination, resisted by almost nothing in OU. Dragon Dance is an excellent stat-boosting move, increasing both speed and power to aid Kingdra in sweeping through opposing teams. Rest is mostly a one-time use, but the total recovery it provides is essential in allowing Kingdra to set up.
Flygon @ Choice Scarf
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly nature (+Spe, -SpA)
Choice Scarf Flygon is a Pokemon that I’m sure all of you are very familiar with by now. Despite the fact that it tends to be very predictable, Flygon occupies a very useful niche on this team for its ability to revenge kill any major threats and scout the opponent’s team with U-turn. As an added bonus, Flygon tends to force a lot of switches, allowing me to further wear my opponents down with damage from Spikes and Stealth Rock. One of the main advantages Flygon has over other Scarf users is its relative immunity to entry hazards: it is completely unaffected by Spikes and Toxic Spikes, and possesses a neat resistance to Stealth Rock as well. This ensures that Flygon tends to survive for the bulk of the match, and is therefore still around at the end when I use it to clean up any remaining Pokemon on the opponent’s team. Current teams usually have far fewer Steel-types than older ones did, which means that Flygon is often safe to use Outrage during later stages of the game, especially after Kingdra has lured out and damaged the Steel-types that the opponent does have. In fact, Flygon happens to make a very effective late-game sweeping partner for Kingdra. After opposing Steels have been weakened or eliminated, Flygon is safe to abuse Outrage without fear of being locked into a resisted move.
The EVs, moveset, and item choice are all very standard. A Jolly nature with max speed is useful for outspeeding threats such as Agiligross and SubPetaya Empoleon, as well as +2 Adamant bulky Gyarados. U-turn is the most-used move on this set, allowing me to scout opposing switch-ins and force more entry hazard damage. Earthquake is quite a troublesome move to be locked into, but it is useful as an emergency check to threats such as Jolteon, and can provide some useful revenge killing utility. Thunderpunch was chosen to allow Flygon to reliably check DD Gyarados, who could otherwise sweep through my team quite easily. Finally, Outrage is easily my favorite move on this set, as it has netted me several successful late-game sweeps. Flygon’s speed and access to a 120 BP STAB attack are enough to clean out most opponents during later portions of the match, especially when I have worn down their teams with entry hazard damage and hard-hitting sweepers.
Jirachi @ Shuca Berry
Ability: Serene Grace
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid nature (+Spe, -Atk)
- Calm Mind
- Hidden Power Ground[/box]
And here we have the star of the show. As you may or may not be aware of already, Jirachi happens to be my favorite Pokemon in OU, and I tend to be somewhat of a Jirachi purist in terms of the teams I use. In this case, I wanted to utilize Jirachi as a specially-based late-game sweeper with an unexpected set. After considering various options, I decided on the new Superachi set for my team, which also happens to work very well with Spikes support. Due to Jirachi’s bulk and excellent typing, it can often find multiple opportunities to begin setting up on the opponent. The sheer surprise factor of the Superachi set allows me to take down several would-be counters, notably Heatran. Jirachi also has the secondary role of functioning as a check to Lucario, who would otherwise be quite difficult to deal with (especially Bullet Punch variants). I try to hold off Jirachi until as late in the game as possible, when the opposing team is severely weakened from entry hazard damage and attacks from my other team members. This gives it the best possible chance of sweeping through opponents with its access to Calm Mind and surprisingly good coverage. If Jirachi can’t get the job done, it can usually at least take out enough obstacles to allow either Flygon or Gengar to clean up. Overall, the Superachi set has been excellent and very fun to play with, particularly when I can set up the right conditions for it to sweep.
Yet another 252 / 252 spread, along with a Timid nature to maximize Jirachi’s speed. There are a couple of other EV sets that I’ve experimented with, but I prefer this one for both its simplicity and its efficacy. In regards to Jirachi's item, I tend to alternate between Shuca Berry and Leftovers. While Leftovers does provide me with useful recovery, Shuca Berry has the added and often unprecedented advantage of insuring me against Scarf Flygon. Earthquake will fail to OHKO Shuca Jirachi, giving me an extra precaution against a very common revenge killer. Jirachi also has access to a wide, varied movepool, making it a bit difficult to choose the best options. In the end, I settled for what I believed to be the attacks with the highest base power and best coverage. Calm Mind is essential of course, as I needed a stat-boosting move to sweep through opponents. It bolsters Jirachi’s already formidable defense, allowing it to set up on a number of slower and weaker special attackers. Psychic is Jirachi’s strongest STAB move, complete with 90 base power and a 10% chance to lower the target’s Special Defense stat. Thunderbolt actually provides good type coverage with Psychic, allowing me to hit opponents like Skarmory for super effective damage. It also allows Jirachi to check Gyarados before a Dragon Dance, which is useful considering that I don’t have Rotom on this team. Hidden Power Ground fills out the last slot, netting unexpected OHKOs on Heatran and Magnezone. Unfortunately, Celebi walls this moveset completely and can use Thunder Wave to cripple Jirachi, but I find that Celebi’s 4x weakness to U-turn and numerous weaknesses make it quite easy to eliminate earlier in the game. Jirachi has a number of other moveset options, but this seems to be quite an effective combination.
While I am posting this team publicly, I am not retiring it. 4th Gen is over when it’s over, not any time sooner. With that being said, this team has been thrilling to play with, and has allowed me to utilize some of my favorite Pokemon. It’s certainly not perfect; I’d even go so far as to say that it is significantly flawed. However, I enjoy playing around potential challenges, so it doesn’t bother me too much. I’m not quite as active in battling as I once was, considering that I spend much of my time rating teams and browsing the forums these days. Despite this, I will continue to use this team along with a couple of my others, most likely for the remainder of this generation.
I’d like to begin by extending my heartfelt thanks to a few specific users. These individuals have been great to work with, and I hope to see them with Smogon in the future. If you feel that you deserve a mention here, feel free to let me know and I may include you as well. Currently, the list consists of:
- Kevin Garrett
P.S. I was Setsuna’s best and most talented student (just kidding). I’m sure he cherishes all his students equally.
- The LegendKiller